Urban Ecology in Lowell – by Taylor Barnaby
My 2014 GOMI Summer Conference week was spent mainly in the city of Lowell, Mass., USA visiting locations and participating in the online Land Science Internship Simulation. Along with our teacher chaperones our team also had Sally Farrow to help guide us through our week. Being both passionate about her community and the environmental state it is in she was also very informative; the week would not have gone so smoothly without her.
Once we got our acceptance letters into the internship program it was time to get to work. The first few days took a little getting used to but by the end of the week we were professionals at submitting notebooks and meeting with stakeholders. The internship lasted 3 days and within that time we had met with environmental groups of Lowell, listened to their concerns, and completed a presentation along with our own map design of Lowell with everyone’s needs being met.
Even though the internship was all online we were able to take many fieldtrips to get a better understanding of Lowell. The first one was located right in front of Middlesex Community College at the new trail, here is where we learned how important it is to keep everyone’s concerns in mind, and also seeing how much improvement can be made in undeveloped land. Later that day we got to visit Congresswoman Nikki Tsongas’s office, where some very interesting conversations on the environmental impact people are having in their communities. The last day we spent in Lowell we got to go to the Lowell-Dracut-Tyngsboro State Forest to see more of the wildlife of Lowell and to also get a better understanding of some of the concerns that were presented from the stakeholders.
The week turned out to be a very educational and fun experience, and I feel like I can speak for everyone on the Urban Ecology theme team by saying that this was the best internship we will ever have.
A great end to a hard day of work
Look at the size of this one!
By Tommy Furlong
In the last week I have participated in several successful pepperweed pulls under the leadership of Chris Orlando and Ryan Furlong. So far we’ve pulled at the Newburyport Boat Basin (which has decreased in pepperweed significantly over the previous years), behind the Mersen Industrial building, around the Audubon, and at different waterfront homes. Earlier this month the GOMI team held the annual week-long summer conference which gave us time to prepare and schedule our different pulls. Since the end of this conference we have stepped up our game and have started having two pulls a week on Saturday and Tuesday.
A little background on pepperweed: it’s an invasive species that has been taking over the marshes of the North Shore and is terrorizing the ecosystems around us. This is the project that started Newburyport GOMI and has stayed the heart and soul of the team. The hard work of the current team, and also previous GOMI members, has proved to be a major factor in the rapid decline of the pepperweed population. However, this wouldn’t be true if it weren’t for the manual hours of pulling and spraying the plant. The eradication of this plant is essential to keeping our marshes healthy, and the Newburyport GOMI team has been doing everything it can to help. Even if it’s only one bag at a time, eradicating pepperweed is an important cause worthy of devoting countless hours to.
Of interest to GOMI teams in the New England area. For more details click on the logo.
The Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment is celebrating its 25th Anniversary with a geocache tour of the Gulf of Maine Watershed.
The Gulf of Maine Council GeoTour was created to encourage people to get out, learn about and experience the beauty and value of the Gulf of Maine for themselves.
The GeoTour is like a scavenger hunt, but instead of visiting locations to collect objects, participants will be finding answers to site specific questions and collecting points. The treasure, a limited edition Gulf of Maine Council 25th Anniversary Geocoin, is available to participants who collect enough points and send in their GeoTour Passport.
To learn more and get the info to take part click on the map below:
Report by Roger Outhouse – Digby/Islands – Friday, July 4th
The presentations went smoothly and my water quality theme team was amazing. I have to admit that I had two members of the Newburyport Team and an ex-GOMI engineering student which made my job much easier. Really not having to be supervising every night has made a big difference. Anna-Marie was a bit busy last night but she still got to retire at a reasonable hour.
Students are packing tonight and we will be underway around 9:30 am after closing ceremonies Saturday morning. Team photos taken today and the evening has youth home teams making a brief presentation. After that a social evening to relax and celebrate follows. All team members seem to be in good spirits.
We will likely make a short stop to eat lunch tomorrow at a US outlet mall and some students might want to pick up a souvenir. Plan to cross the border late afternoon or early evening and stay at the St. Stevens Inn. We will let everyone know what is happening with the ferry situation Saturday night so you will know when we might get across. This storm front is still a bit of an unknown. Will keep everyone posted.
Anna-Marie and I were proud to have been with our youth as they showed great poise and team work though out the week.
Digby/Islands team at Adelynrood
Thanks to tropical storm Arthur we have had some rain and cooling temperatures. Quite a nice and needed change at GOMI. All of the teams were busy after breakfast putting the final polish on their presentations. After lunch the guest panelists gathered and each team had about 1o minutes to summarize their week’s work. Well done presentations, good questions from the panel and thoughtful answers highlighted the afternoon. A few shots below of the presentations and panel:
After we completed the formal part of the day we took the traditional group picture in just a little bit to rain. All agreed that we grew a bit from the experience.
The day was not ended. Home teams gathered to make plans for their next year’s activities to be reported in the evening. Packing for home was started. Evening activities to celebrate Independence Day were planned and enjoyed. The time to evening quiet time was extended for socialization.
Another HOT day at Adelynrood. The theme teams were back work on their projects with some teams off site and the rest working on the property. As the teams finished data gathering they transitioned to thinking about their presentations for Friday afternoon.
Invasives team removes Black Swallow-Wort from the Site. This plant kills Monarch butterfly larva. The site is now free of this invasive species.
Oriental Bittersweet invading a Red Cedar is cut as invasive control measure. Impact has been reduced but not eliminated.
In the evening, Tim Conway, who works with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, conducted a multi-team game, GOMIville. The youth played rolls of government, coal producers and companies, solar/wind companies, environmental groups, natural gas companies, and sole focus budget interest groups. The overall goal was reduction of reliance on fossil fuels while maintaining the economic health of the community whose income (70%) is presently dominated by coal. The game led to the understanding of various positions, arguments and potential for negotiations and some spirited discussion.
The evening closed with an inspiring talk on beekeeping from Laurie Herboltsheimer and Dean Stiglitz, authors of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Beekeeping. Laurie and Dean are active beekeepers in the Boston region.
Canada Day! Yes, we got off to a good start with the anthem and recognition that this is, besides GOMI, a special day. After breakfast each of the Theme Teams reported on their experience in Lowell yesterday. It was interesting hearing the different takes on the experience as each team had time on its own to explore its interests.
The whole group then held a session on team building and a planning and civic engagement exercise. After lunch the Theme Teams met with their leaders to get an orientation and start on their topic. The themes this year are Bee Keeping, Climate Change, Drifters, Invasive Species, Urban Ecology and Water Quality.
Margaret Young introduces the Invasive Plants team to keying and plant illustration.
After dinner, Mike Bohn, with the US Forest Service gave a talk on the invasive Emerald Ash Borer beetle, its spread and efforts to deal with it. This was followed by a Canada Day event and Game Night.